Heterogeneity in Alzheimer’s Disease: an Exercise in the Resolution of a Phenotype

  • M. F. Folstein
  • A. Warren
  • P. R. McHugh
Part of the Research and Perspectives in Alzheimer’s Disease book series (ALZHEIMER)


Clinical features related to age of onset, including amnesia, aphasia, apraxia, agnosia, depression, and fingerprint and platelet abnormalities, suggest heterogeneity in Alzheimer’s disease. Since some of these features run in Alzheimer’s disease families there could be genetic heterogeneity. Understanding the mechanisms which determine the age of onset and related features will be as important as the discovery of the genes, because delay of the age of onset could push it beyond the normal life span and thus eliminate expression of Alzheimer’s disease in human populations even though the genes themselves and their possible beneficial effects would remain.

Knowledge of potential heterogeneity will aid in the design of linkage studies. Criteria must be constructed for the purpose of identifying probands and secondary cases in linkage studies in order to reduce the number of false positives. To put it another way, we must increase the predictive value of case detection methods, particularly regarding early cases, in linkage studies.


Linkage Study Senile Dementia Secondary Case Normal Life Span Fingerprint Pattern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. F. Folstein
  • A. Warren
  • P. R. McHugh

There are no affiliations available

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